Precincts 1 & 3 Swing Election

BLYTHEWOOD – It only took about 320 voters to seat a new majority to the Blythewood Town Council last week. With 1,551 registered voters in the Town, that’s approximately a 21 percent voter turnout. While the exact number of votes cast for candidates in the election was certified, only an approximate number of total ballots cast in all the Blythewood precincts was available from the Richland County Election Commission at press time. Low voter turnout was the norm in Richland County last Tuesday with only a 12 percent turnout for the entire county.

Blythewood’s two Town Council incumbents, Ed Garrison and Paul Moscati, both of whom reside in Lake Ashley, skimmed by their challengers Bob Massa and Tom Utroska in Garrison’s and Moscati’s home Precinct 2 with 64 votes for Garrison and 66 for Moscati. Massa with 61 votes and Utroska with 55, were not far behind. Ernestine Middleton, also a Lake Ashley resident who was vying for former Councilman Jeff Branham’s unexpired 2-year term, was the big winner in her Precinct 2 with 83 votes over Bob Mangone’s 46.

But Massa, Mangone and Utroska sealed their wins with big numbers in Precincts 1 and 3. Precinct 1 consists mainly of voters in Cobblestone (Mangone’s and Utroska’s neighborhood) and the area along Syrup Mill and Muller roads. Garrison, Moscati and Middleton, respectively, took 14, 17 and 12 of those votes to Massa’s 60, Utroska’s 63 and Mangone’s 64.

Precinct 3, consisting of Ashley Oaks, Dawson’s Pond, Dawson’s Creek and rural properties in those areas, heavily favored the winners with the following counts – Massa with 68 and Utroska with 66, approximately twice as many votes as Garrison with 27 and Moscati with 35. Mangone captured 63 votes over Middleton’s 40.

Fairfield County residents eligible to vote in Town elections, and who live in proximity to Lake Ashley, cast 3 votes for Garrison, 4 for Moscati, 4 for Middleton and none for the other three candidates. No votes were cast by the several eligible voters along Rimer Pond Road, which is in the LongCreek Precinct.

The following absentee votes were cast: Garrison, 5; Massa, 4; Moscati, 8; Utroska, 1; Mangone, 5 and Middleton, 4.

Blythewood Precincts 1, 2 and 3 all turned down the $59 million library bond, but by small margins. Precinct 1 voted against it 81-57, Precinct 2 voted 108-101, and 3 voted 78-75. The LongCreek Precinct had no votes cast by Town residents.

Blythewood’s three Councilmen-elect will take office during a swearing-in ceremony at the next regular Town Council meeting at 7 p.m., Nov. 25 at the Doko Manor. The public is invited.